Seester Sunday: Chili, Books, and Rest!

This edition of Seester Sunday occurred on February 9, 2020. Sarah posted it on time; alas, I did not (per usual).

Mel:

Today was truly a Sunday Funday! I was busy with a few awesome activities today.

After mass, I attended our Basilica’s Knights of Columbus 10th Annual Chili Cook Off. I had a blast trying four out of the seven chilis. I would have tried more, but I was stuffed and did not want to be miserable for the rest of the day.

Today I wore one of my “winterized ensembles.” This full outfit is from Target. I started with a sundress, and then added a cami, cardigan, tights, and boots. I was careful with the color selections for each of my additions, as I did not want to over power the floral print with too much black, and I also did not want to look out of place and washed out with too much white.

I really enjoy pulling colors out of prints to complete an outfit. I wore my favorite blue Silpada earrings that I wore last week. And this week I added my necklace with Saint Agnes (my confirmation patron saint) and Miraculous medals.


After all of that chili eating, I was ready to relax with the pups. The only thing better than reading books is reading books while snuggling with dogs. It’s simply the best.

I finished my day with an evening shift working at Barnes and Noble. I made a few book recommendations tonight and splurged on some cheesecake during my break.

Hope you have a great week!

Sarah:

Well my Sunday was much less exciting than Mel’s, but still good!

We have been battling the plague for the entire past week 6 weeks at our house. Jeremiah was hit HARD on Mon/Tues and really didn’t emerge from the trenches until Friday evening. Gabriel was home from school for 3 days this week. By Sunday morning, Jeremiah still wasn’t feeling great, and offered to stay home with Kateri. I jumped on that idea, because ‘Me/4 kids in Mass alone’ sounds a lot better than ‘Me/5 kids in Mass alone’!

I quickly got myself ready while the older 4 got dressed and we were off. Ruth was naughty during church (what’s new?) but everyone else was fine and well behaved. I shared with Jeremiah awhile ago that I know one of the specific reasons God gave me Ruth was to keep me HUMBLE. And that she does, very well, almost daily. After Mass, the kids ate doughnuts while I chatted with a friend, then we all went to our respective Sunday School classes. Gabriel’s class played Bible Jeopardy for part of their session, how fun! My 1st grade class talked about Baptism and Sacraments.

My outfit was an oldie, but a goodie. My shirt was thrifted a long time ago and is super long. I like to tie it in a little knot to give it a little something and so it’s not shapeless. This shirt is so wonderful because I have worn it when I am trying to hide a post-baby pudgey belly, when I’m not pregnant, AND when I am pregnant, and I think it looks decent in all situations and is very forgiving–my favorite types of clothes!! My leggings are maternity from Old Navy and I basically live in them when they’re not in the washer. I wore tall boots and forgot to put earrings in. I did nothing with my hair other than a ponytail because that’s how I roll a lot of days and Kateri pulls on it all day anyways. 😉 This pic was taken right before bed, so yes, I look a bit tired and my glasses are on. haha!

Photo cred to Ruth(?)

After that we all headed home on icy roads and had lunch. The rest of the day consisted of me getting 100 pages into a new book (“A Woman is No Man” by Etaf Rum–VERY GOOD), watching an episode of “Flip Wars” on Prime, helping Gabriel with a pile of makeup homework (–see couch), making all people take a nap (they all were quiet for 2 hours!!! WIN!), planning our week in my planner, keeping Kateri from climbing on me too much, doing laundry, watching the kids go crazy (anyone else’s people have cabin fever?!) and ordering dinner in from the bar/grille in town. A good, restful Sunday, but I am happy to see and feel the sun today!!

Seester Sunday: Happy New Year!

I am continuing to catch up with posting our Seester Sunday updates. This post should finally bring us up to date. 😉

Sarah:

After a bit of an absence with Seester Sunday, we’ve decided to (try) to get back into the habit. This week followed a snowy Saturday that left us cooped up in the house most of the day. The kids were a bit antsy and honestly we didn’t do much. I spent a good majority of the day on the couch and J even cooked dinner (spaghetti-his trademark 😉  ).

All that to say we were slow getting up and about on Sunday morning and were LATE to church after de-icing the van and driving on slick roads. Kateri was the only one who got her hair fixed and Ruth wore her snow boots. We were even short one kid as Lucy was at a sleepover. We walked in and Ruth took off in Ruth-fashion running up the center aisle to where we usually sit…..except we weren’t sitting there because, as I mentioned, we were LATE and had to sit elsewhere. Ahem. Anyways, here’s what I wore:

 Who’s that handsome teenager standing next to me? Oh, that’s only my man-child, Gabriel. I somehow convinced him to get in a pic with me. In case you’re interested, he now can wear man-sized jeans, I buy his shoes from the men’s section and he no longer needs a booster in the car. {tears**}

My dress/tunic/long shirt thing is thrifted and old and some brand I’ve never heard of. I love it. It’s comfy and forgiving. It’s short enough that I don’t wear it in the summer but feel comfortable putting it with leggings. I can bend over and wrangle Ruth kids without my hiney showing. My leggings are run-of-the-mill from Old Navy and are much warmer than they look! Boots are my favorite grey ones from Famous Footwear that I’ve had for 2 years.   And that’s that!

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Melissa:

So, the reason this Seester Sunday post is a day late is because yours truly did not get her act together in time for a Sunday post. While I do not ANY human children, nor do I have a husband, my life seems to keep me busy with other things.

I spent my snowy Saturday working at Barnes and Noble. What began as a part time seasonal job has become a permanent part time job that I absolutely LOVE. Hopefully I can continue to balance my bookselling job with everything else going on in my increasingly crazy life!

On Saturday night, I had an amazing first date at Centro, my favorite restaurant in downtown Des Moines. Then, I was invited to join this great guy for a second breakfast date on Sunday morning before mass. While I was home by 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, I barely slept! Glad I still woke up early on Sunday though, because breakfast was awesome.

After breakfast on Sunday, I attended 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John. Then I came home for some office time. My client 50-50 in 2020, whom I currently serve as Executive Director for, has A LOT going on during these next two weeks! By mid-afternoon, I was off to Barnes and Noble for the rest of the day and evening.

I also wore a thrift store gem during this past Sunday. I found this dress at Phase 2 Consignments in Grinnell, just over a year ago. This photo is not from Sunday, because, as we have established previously, I did not have my act together this week:

This photo is from the Women Lead Change Dubuque Conference in November 2019, where I exhibited on behalf of 50-50 in 2020. Paired with my dress then and this Sunday were Silpada earrings, and brown tights and boots from Target. I do not wear a lot of jewelry, and earrings are my go-to accessory – in addition to my glasses!

Another note on my dress: I love cowl necks and things that flow openly. Nothing is worse than a form-fitting dress when you are having a day when you feel bloated or fat. Yes, we must be self confident, but we all have those days because we are human.

We look forward to posting together again next week!

Seester Sunday: Happy Fall!

Seester Sunday: Happy Fall!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Seester Sunday – also referred to as What We Wore Sunday! These posts will be co-authored by my sister Sarah and yours truly. We both enjoy getting dressed up for church on Sundays and thought this may be a fun way to showcase that! We both have various things happening on Sundays, so we will give you a glimpse into our weekend activities too. According to my sister, I have great taste in fashion. She also manages to wear everything well and prides herself on finding a good bargain. Yes, we are quite the pair! We hope you enjoy following us in our common faith and routines, as well as our very different lives as a small town mom of five and a single city dweller with two fur kids. 😉 Check out my sister’s blog here.

Sarah:

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So today it was pretty chilly when I woke up. It was 36 degrees! I knew it was a sweater kind of day! I had just gotten a new sweater this past week, so I was excited to wear it. And it’s super cozy! It caught my eye at Walmart of all places. I love the mustardy/tan color and I think it screams fall. Jeremiah told me it reminded him of Velma from Scooby Doo when it was on the hanger *ahem*–not the look I was going for–…..but then he told me it looked good when I put it on. Whatevs. I like it. My pants are black skinny jeans from Target, the A New Day brand. I bought them specifically for work but I actually really like them otherwise and find myself reaching for them a lot. Confession–the last time I wore black jeans was probably 4th grade so it was really weird to put them on at first! Boots are from Famous Footwear I believe, and I wear them ALOT. Some Sundays I dress up more than others, it just depends on what I’m feeling and the weather!!

I didn’t get a pic of the kids dressed up, but may try to do that sometimes. Lucy had several instances of high drama with her clothing choices (Mom! I have no long sleeves! Why are all my cardigans so itchy?! Why don’t I have any winter dresses like Amelia?! Blah blah blah) but settled on a cute outfit. Amelia complained the whole Mass about how itchy her tights were. (Maybe my kids all need some lotion?!) Ruth rocked a pair of sparkly pack boots with a dress I had originally made for Lucy when she was 3 or 4. Yep. Regardless, we made it to Mass before 8:30am, always a win!

The kids did pretty well during Mass. After Mass we always have coffee and doughnuts while the kids go to Sunday School. It was my week off of teaching so I got to sit around and visit too. All the kids go to Sunday school this year except for Kateri, so it’s kind of quiet, which is nice. After that we go to brunch at the in-laws and it’s a good time and good food!

Today we came home around 12:15 to change clothes and leave again for an outdoor work day at the preschool playground. Let’s just say things went well for awhile and then all of a sudden it was apparent that the 3 youngest girls definitely needed a nap! So, home I went. The rest of the day we were at home resting, doing things around the house, getting ready for the week and preparing food: the usual!

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Melissa:

When Sarah asked me about doing a joint blog post on Sundays, I did not hesitate to say yes. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I love going to 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. I love usually being able to take a full day for myself. I truly try to put the “Funday” into “Sunday Funday.”

This morning was one of those crisp, fall mornings that I long for during the dog days of summer. I knew it was going to be a boots and tights day, and I welcome that. I bought a new Prologue dress at Target a few weeks ago, and today was my second day wearing it. I love this dress because it is one of those throw on and go items that is super comfy and practical for mass, as well as my day full of activities. Oddly enough, I too had someone give me a hard time about my wardrobe choice. When I wore this outfit for the first time a couple of weeks ago, an elderly man outside of the Urbandale Public Library asked me what I was dressed up as, and then said, “a pilgrim?” I replied with, “No, this is just my outfit for today!” – with a big smile on my face.

I get dressed once for the day, and that’s what I wear all day, so versatility is key for me. Lately I like to get up earlier than needed in the morning so I can drink coffee, read my morning devotion, and snuggle with the pups on the couch. Sometimes I get partly ready for the day, pause for this, and then resume with makeup and hair, etc. Other days I stay in my pajamas for way longer than I should and then find myself in a mad dash to get out the door on time. Fortunately, today was one of the former.

Sunday mass is my reset button for the week. I sit on the “Joseph side” of the Basilica, in a small pew. While I do not sit directly beside anyone, I have people all around me. I enjoy fellowship during the sharing of the peace and after mass, but otherwise, I am a solo worshipper. I really try to be present and often find myself tearing up during certain hymns or right before and/or after the Eucharist. I have accepted that I am a weepy girl, and I feel so blessed to be so touched by something that it stirs up such an emotion in me.

Our parish has coffee, juice, and donuts on Sunday mornings, so I sometimes stay afterward for that. Today we had a raffle drawing, and while I did not win anything, it was fun to be a part of the fundraising project for the Basilica.

After mass, I took the fur kids to the dog park. At a balmy 51 degrees, it was a nice fall day, but it did require a coat and scarf for this girl who is almost always cold. Percy and Gemma love the dog park for the socialization with other pups, as well as the wide open space to run, sniff, and roll in disgusting things. I love the fresh air and quiet time to recharge.

Today we also swung by the Starbucks Drive Thru on the way home: Pumpkin Spice Latte for me, and pup cups for them. Once home, I settled in with my PSL and my current read while they snoozed.

This evening was our annual Basilica Foundation Autumn Wine and Cheese Fundraiser. The Basilica Foundation exists to provide funding for the upkeep of our beautiful building. I first attended this event last year, when I was brand new to the parish and just beginning RCIA classes.

How fast this past year flew by! I enjoyed a few glasses of tasty wine, some amazing cheese and chocolate, and great conversations with fellow parishioners. I love my Basilica family!

I get a C grade at best for capturing a full length photo of my outfit this week. After all, this dress HAS POCKETS! I was just having too much fun enjoying the day to worry about it (but yet I managed to take a ton of other photos!). Oh well! There’s always next week. 😉

Piercing the Schnoz

During the past few months, I have wanted to pierce my nose. Nothing huge, just a little stud. I like flare and enjoy being a bit trendy. However, beyond piercing my ears, I have not pierced anything else and do not even have a tattoo. I tried to get my belly button pierced during my 20s, but due to my awesomely unique belly button, that was a no-go.

I only mentioned my piercing desire to a handful of people, and the reaction I received was very mixed. Then on Saturday (Easter Eve), my co-worker responded with, “Let’s go tonight after work!” And the rest is history.

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I am loving my new piece of flare!

The Stump Speech

At Target Optical, we each write a stump speech – a statement (or maybe a book for some of us!) about why we do what we do each day. I wrote two different stump speeches when I was a team member from November 2010 through December 2011. When I returned as an Optical Team Leader in August, I found myself agonizing over this. I like to write, and I like to write with meaning and authenticity. The stump speech is an ever changing document for many, as we all evolve personally and professionally during the course of months and years. Nonetheless, I wanted to get this right. After reviewing my stump speech nearly every week since August, I was ready to sign my name to it. Then my boss told me it was a bit more all-encompassing, so I now refer to it as “Mel’s Manifesto”. Drumroll……..

I believe investing in my team and guests will create a great business culture, thus bringing vision and happiness to an increasing number of people every single day.
I recruit as a way of life. I was once a lost, passionate person looking for a work home. Now that I have found it, I share the opportunity with the best people I meet.
I approach team members with sincerity and passion, pushing them to fulfill their potential. Settling for anything less is a disservice to my team and our guests.
I lead by example and set high expectations. I am approachable and expect conversations to be productive. I demand a positive outlook and showing respect to others, including ourselves. I show appreciation for a job well done.
I enjoy dressing up for work each day and sharing my fashionista sense with those around me. I stay on top of the latest fashion trends, thus empowering me to truly give the best service to every guest.
I thrive on efficiency and fun. I constantly try to find ways to make the Target Optical team and guest experience better. When people walk into Target Optical store 4002, they think, ” Wow! I love it here.”
I am committed to growing our business by retaining current guests and constantly marketing to potential guests. I strive to keep my eyes on the large picture: being the best brand in the optical industry.

UBWP: Day 8

Jen’s Wedding Day:  Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  Saturday, July 7, 2012

Days To Go:  8

How is it only eight days until Jen’s wedding?  Sure, these past few weeks have been crazy, but it still snuck up on me.  I had my dress and shoes in hand about three weeks before the wedding date.  And the dress hung in the plastic bag for a good three days before I mustered up the courage to try it on.

I tried it on, and it fit!  Well, mostly.  Needed to take in the top.  Story of my life.  Not mad, just a predictable fact.

I also tried on my bridesmaid dress from sister Sarah’s wedding.  Still fits!  Woot!  So what if I never followed through with this UBWP thing?  (In my defense, I have run/walked the one and only Bix at 6 that has been held so far this year – 7 miles!!!)  The dress still fits!

And one must not forget the shoes!

I finally took my dress to be altered at the beginning of this week.  Delorus Bockwoldt near Durant is amazing.  She’s an older lady who took care of all of the dresses for my sister’s wedding.  I called up Delores, trecked on three miles of gravel with Smurfette, and the dress was pinned and ready to go.  One day later, I received the phone call that it was ready for pick up.

One week from today at this time, I will be at rehearsal in Loose Park in downtown Kansas City.  Unreal that my bestie from college is getting married.  So happy for her!

The Return to Vicki’s

At one time, I counted my undies and had 85 pairs.  I visited Victoria’s Secret and purchased a lot of items there.  I was not doing it to impress anyone.  I just like cute undies and PJs.  I don’t spend a lot of money on shoes or purses.  But put me in a store with cute undies and PJs, and I will spend every penny I can on them.

I have been a very good kid during the past year in regards to limiting my purchases in this area.  I rarely went into Victoria’s Secret and even cut up my credit card so I could work on paying other things off before I spent money on undies.  And I succeeded.

Then I received my $10 off birthday coupon in the mail.  I told myself I could buy something.  I was good for so long and I am in desperate need (OK, OK, want) of new PJs.  So one week ago, I entered Vicki’s again, willing to spend some money.

I was a pretty good kid and only spent $43.33.  One of the items I departed with was a black night shirt that reads “DANCE ALL NIGHT” in white lettering with silver studs.  Seriously, that one screamed at me.  I had to take it home.

Then I checked my mailbox the next day and found new coupons.  They are good!  I am sure they monitored my googly eyes when I passed by about 20 other things in the store I resisted buying.

I quite possibly could have purchased a few large items by now with all of the money I have spent on PJs and undies.  But I don’t smoke, I don’t buy really expensive clothes, and I don’t gamble.  So I have to have something.  And sometimes it’s good to have a little too much of a good thing.

The I in Fashion

Fashion matters.

“This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”

Miranda Priestly – The Devil Wears Prada

I was quite a bit like Andy Sachs, the recipient of the above tirade, as a youngster and into high school.  I accidentally stumbled across a nice classic every now and then, as I managed to do with my senior picture wardrobe (thank God!).  But I was one of the last in my demographic to let go of the tapered leg jeans.  And then it took a full semester of college, at that.  They had to have been out of style for a good year or so by that time.

My first wave of fashion education came when I began a part-time job at Vanity during the fall of 1998.  It wasn’t Runway magazine by any means, but it did wonders for me.

But I wasn’t there yet.  I basically pulled stuff off the racks and threw it on, not really trying to personalize it and only dismissing an item if a co-worker shook her head no.

My friends Kate and Lexi were the first to challenge my fashion boundaries.  I worked with both of them at Vanity – first Kate, then Lexi.  Kate point blank told me if something looked good or not.  Usually, it didn’t.  She also had a unique way of selecting items off the clothing racks.  Kate had lots of tie dye items, which I have grown to love.  The best part: Kate let me borrow her clothes a lot.

Lexi could (and still can) spot something across the room and say, “That’s you, Melissa.”  And she is ALWAYS right.  She can connect my personality to an item of clothing instantly.  That’s why she was such a diva in retail for so many years.  Lexi introduced me to halter and tube tops.  I falsely assumed I needed more on top to wear those, but that wasn’t so.  And Lexi took me out of the frumpy medium shirts into small shirts.  Not too small, just right.

I by no means have fashion and/or my personal sense of style all figured out, but I knew I was darn close when one of my friends told me back in 2003, “You don’t dress like a Republican.”  I know many Republican ladies who have a sense of style, but we normally don’t associate Republicans with the cutting edge of fashion.  From that point on, I thought about the comment when buying work clothes.  What could I find that was professional and had a little bit of sparkle?

My current job at Target Optical requires that I care about fashion.  Our motto there is “Simple, Fun, and In Style”.  I constantly strive to find ways to rock the red and khaki.  When I am dressed well, I sell more.  Who wants to buy stylish frames from a frumpy looking chick?

I am excited to see women finding their personal style every day at optical.  And I enjoy seeing smart women in the public eye who have a sense of style.  I recently read the book “Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style” by Kate Betts.  The author explains that women used to be considered smart or fashionable, but now we can be both.

My style is something between cute and sassy.  I like to wear a variety of colors.  I like to make dramatic hair style changes every now and then.  I don’t care what the size on the tag says, as long as it looks good on me.

Remember, there is an “I” in “FASHION”.  Make it your own!